Best Places for Cocktails in New York City

California is incredible, yeah, but sometimes it’s good to have a change of pace, especially in the summer. Trade your Los Angeles car for a New York taxi and take in some of the amazing tastes and treats that the Big Apple has to offer. These are a few of my favorite cocktails to help keep you cool and where you can find them. Just don’t try to go through them all in the same day, okay? And be sure to enjoy the good food at these spots as well.

Here’s my picks for the best places places to grab a cocktail in New York City.


Trans-Siberian – Grand Arm

grand army bar

No, I’m not referring to the railway or the progressive-rock orchestra. I’m talking about a wildly refreshing drink that doesn’t get nearly the recognition it deserves. The stiff blast of citrus is made with vodka, Aperol (an Italian orange bitter), lime, grapefruit juice, orange flower water, simple syrup and Maldon salt. Does that not sound like one of the most aromatic and refreshing drinks you’ve ever had? You can find a great one at Grand Army near Boerum Hill. The bar was recently named by Zagat as one of the 15 hottest bars in New York.


Bloody Mary – St. Regis Bar

bloody mary King cole barWhile I’d never normally drink before noon on a vacation, there’s nothing like kicking your morning off with a nice Bloody Mary. A lot of places claim to have the best or try to attempt to stake a claim in the origins of the drink, but I’m inclined to trust New York. According to British Airways, the classic brunch cocktail was invented at the St. Regis Hotel on Fifth and Madison. Legend has it that former bartender Fernand Petiot started mixing the concoction in 1934 and originally called it a “Red Snapper” as “Bloody Mary” was considered too risqué at the time. A visit here is good anytime of year.  This is also the go-to stop for my husband and I after over Thanksgiving weekend after we’ve visited all the holiday window displays.


White Russian – Butter & Scotch

butter and scotch bar
butter and scotch

It might not be the best cocktail for a hot day, but a White Russian definitely makes for a great nightcap. For those who like to have their cake and eat it, too, you can turn your drink into your dessert at Butter & Scotch on Franklin Avenue. The new hotspot takes your adult glass of milk and does you one better by serving it with a delectable chocolate chip cookie combining both happy hour and your after-school snack in one delightful dram. Gothamist named it one of the seven new cocktail bars you should be drinking at and I’m inclined to agree. That and eating. You should eat here, too, because there is cake. And if I really were to choose my fave it would be a slice of birthday cake with a tall Porch Swing Collins drink – a mix of YUM and cool refreshment!


Margarita – Cilantro

centro nyc margaritas

It’s not summer without a good margarita and this is definitely one of those cocktails where you want to find a nice balance between quantity and quality come happy hour. At Cilantro on 1st Avenue on the Upper East Side, you get the best of both worlds with a house margarita that rocks 16 fluid ounces of tequila and lime. You can get all this for about $10, and if you managed to swing by between 4 and 7 p.m. Monday through Thursday, the happy hour special knocks them down to about six bucks! Go loco and look out for the delicious fried plantains and free chips.

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